DES MOINES, Iowa -- Time Magazine announced the winner of their "Person of the Year Award", and it has been given to all the women who were part of the #MeToo campaign.
The campaign allowed women a space to openly discuss their stories of sexual assault and harassment. It’s made an impact on both the national stage, and right here in Central Iowa.
“There's a lot of people who have stories and no one realizes they've had stories and that they've had a rough past. I think it's amazing that it's out in the light and people can see the struggle women have gone through silently for all these years” said Abby Wiese.
The #MeToo campaign was started in 2007 by Tarana Burke. A decade later social media made it go viral.
“I felt like it was a very powerful statement for people to make and also a very brave statement for women to make. In the past it’s been hard for women to be honest about their experience, and now that women are doing that it empowers other women to do that as well” said Jennifer Leatherby
Empowering women to tell their stories, both big and small.
“Someone touching me inappropriately when I was maybe, 12 years old, and I had a family member, an older person, say they were just sick of hearing about it, they were sick of it, and I said ‘I’m not’” said Laura Stegemann.
“Of course, my stories are nothing compared to these women, but it makes me think about how I’m being treated every day, and what is right and what is wrong and keeping an eye out for myself in the future” said Wiese.
“It’s really bittersweet in that way because you can see it as a positive movement, but when you see how prevalent it is, it’s really heartbreaking” said Leatherby.
Me too became a place not just to air grievances, but to hold everyone from politicians to celebrities accountable; and hopefully, make real change.
“I think that it probably won’t happen as much anymore because men, and women, are also keeping it in mind and thinking ‘maybe I shouldn’t say that, maybe I shouldn’t do that, maybe I shouldn’t send that email’” said Wiese.
“Some men are feeling like they are afraid now; that everything that they do are going to be held under this magnifying glass of whether it was wrong, or they feel scared. To that I say, welcome to the club. Women have been scared for a long time” said Leatherby.
These women say the campaign isn't going anywhere, and there's still work to do.
“Really raise up women’s voices, women of color especially. They’re still more likely to be victims of these types of things even though now the conversation is now very much popularized by white culture” said Leatherby.
Other “Person of the Year” candidates included President Donald Trump, Colin Kaepernick, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un.